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washblade.com - vol.41, issue 36 - September 3, 2010

washblade.com - vol.41, issue 36 - September 3, 2010

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Published by: Washington Blade Newspaper on Sep 10, 2010
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In shocker, pro-gayincumbent trailsafter ‘politicalidentity theft’
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.lchibbaro@washblade.com
A Washington Post poll show-ing that the largely unknown D.C.shadow senator, Michael D.Brown, is leading incumbentCouncil member Phil Mendelsonby 17 points in the at-large CityCouncil race has shocked thecity’s political establishment andraised the question of whetherLGBT voters could saveMendelson from defeat.Virtually all political observersagree that Brown’s lead overMendelson, by a margin of 38 to21 percent among registeredDemocrats, is due to voter con-fusion over Brown’s name, whichis the same as that of incumbentD.C. Council member Michael A.Brown (I-At-Large).The Post poll found that 29percent of respondents said theywere undecided in the at-largeCouncil race among candidatesrunning in the Sept. 4Democratic primary.The better-known Michael A.Brown, who enjoys widespreadsupport across the city, is not run-ning for re-election this year andhas endorsed Mendelson. At anews conference Tuesday, heaccused Michael D. Brown ofengaging in “political identity theft”to capitalize on the name confu-
googoofor gaga
D.C.’s little monstersare agog as Lady Gaga’ssold-out tour arrivesin town next week.
Activists demandFenty reinstate policegay liaison unit,threaten sit-in protest.
D.C. couple Carl Coxand Darin Hendersonneed your help to winnational wedding contest.
the lgbtq community news source
washingtonblade.com • vol. 41, issue 36 • september 3, 2010 • Still sharp after 40 years
Some fear ‘Don’t Ask’repeal doomed ifSept. vote is delayed
By CHRIS JOHNSONcjohnson@washblade.com
Supporters of “Don’t Ask,Don’t Tell” repeal are pushingSenate Majority Leader HarryReid (D-Nev.) to schedule a voteon the issue in September assome fear further delay wouldentirely derail efforts to overturnthe law this year.Alex Nicholson, executivedirector of ServicemembersUnited, said the prospects forpassing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”repeal are “reduced significantly”if Reid doesn’t schedule a voteon the fiscal year 2011 defenseauthorization before lawmakersbreak for the election.“The failure of [the defenseauthorization bill] and [‘Don’tAsk, Don’t Tell’] to get floor timeand a vote in September or firstweek of October will be Reid’salone,” Nicholson said. “Bumpingit off to lame duck is gamblingwith our community’s lives andlivelihoods – the same risk wedemanded Obama not take byputting off the vote until nextyear.”Winnie Stachelberg, seniorvice president for external affairsat the Center for AmericanProgress, also emphasized theimportance of having a vote onthe defense authorization billand “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” inSeptember.“It’s important that this hap-pen in September because thereare folks who don’t want to dealwith this in a lame duck or nextyear,” she said.On May 27, the SenateArmed Services Committeevoted to include language thatwould lead to repeal of “Don’tAsk, Don’t Tell” in the defenseauthorization bill and reportedthe language as a whole to the
News that former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman is gaytriggers anger, resentment.
Page 8
Holiday weekend brings entertainment options galoreas we say goodbye to summer.
Page 38
Council member
Phil Mendelson
trails an opponent by 17 points ina surprising new poll.
Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key
Can LGBT vote rescue Mendelson?
Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid
(D-Nev.) has yet to schedule a voteon the Defense Authorization Bill, which contains language repealing‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’
Washington Blade photo by Michael Key
s on p
e 14Continu
s on p
e 6
‘Gambling with livesand livelihoods’
2 washingtonblade.com • september 3, 2010
september 3, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 3
Letter to mayor citesrecent anti-LGBT attacks
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.lchibbaro@washblade.com
Several local LGBT organizations havesent Mayor Adrian Fenty an open letter ask-ing him to overrule the city’s police chief,Cathy Lanier, by directing her to upgrade theheadquarters staff at the police depart-ment’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit.Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence,the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community,the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, andthe Gertrude Stein Democratic Club cited inthe Aug. 26 letter a recent surge in anti-LGBT assaults in the city as demonstratingthe need for strengthening the GLLUthrough an expanded staff.“In light of this continuing history of vio-lence against members of our community,we seek your immediate attention to fullyrestore the staffing levels of the GLLU tosix full-time officers,” the groups said inthe letter.“Further, we ask that the unit be led bya full-time officer devoted to these dutieswith the authority to report directly toChief Lanier. It is our hope that a restoredGLLU will serve as a more effective liai-son between the LGBT community andMPD,” the letter says.The letter emerged from an Aug. 26town hall meeting on anti-LGBT violencesponsored by the D.C. Center. Severalpeople attending the meeting expressedsupport for a suggestion by gay activistPeter Rosenstein that activists stage a sit-in protest in Fenty’s office to dramatize theneed for immediate action on his part tostrengthen the GLLU.Rosenstein said this week that he hasno immediate plans for a mayoral protestor sit-in but said such an action would beconsidered sometime later.GLOV co-chairs Kelly Pickard and JoeMontoni briefed town hall meeting atten-dees on some of the recent incidents ofanti-LGBT violence, including about ahalf-dozen incidents in the Dupont Circlearea near several gay bars. The two saidthey were especially troubled over themurder last month of gay federal workerDelando King, who was stabbed to deathin his apartment near MassachusettsAvenue and 10th Street, N.W.Police have charged a 24-year-old D.C.man with first-degree murder in connec-tion with the case, and court documentsfiled by police say King appears to haveinvited his attacker home after meetinghim in a gay bar.GLOV co-chair Montoni said the groupbelieves King’s murder should be listed as ahate crime, even though police have saidthe motive appears to have been robbery.GLOV praised police investigators for work-ing with the GLLU to make an arrest in thecase within a week of the murder.The GLLU currently has four full-time offi-cers, an increase from two years ago, whenthe unit’s staff dropped to just one or twoofficers due to attrition and a decision byLanier to restructure and decentralize it.Lanier has said budget cuts and the needfor more officers on street patrol duty forcedher to reduce the number of officers at theGLLU’s headquarters office in Dupont Circlefrom its high point in 2007 of six full-time offi-cers and a full-time sergeant who served asits supervisor. The current GLLU supervisor,Sgt. Carlos Mejia, divides his dutiesbetween the GLLU and the department’sLatino Liaison Unit.With the backing of Fenty, Lanierdecentralized the GLLU and three otherspecialized police units working with theLatino, Asian American, and deaf andhard of hearing communities by establish-ing affiliate members of the units in eachof the department’s seven police districts.Officials with GLOV and other LGBTactivists have expressed general support forthe affiliate program, in which officersassigned to regular patrol duties are trainedto respond to calls involving LGBT-relatedcrimes. Lanier said there are currently abouta dozen GLLU affiliate members in additionto the four full-time members.But GLOV and other local LGBTgroups have expressed concern that theaffiliate members don’t have the time orexpertise to handle all of the LGBT-relatedcalls for police help, including calls relatedto hate crimes.“Having affiliate officers trained to recog-nize and respond to LGBT crimes in everydistrict is admirable in intent,” the groupssaid in their letter to Fenty. “In practice, how-ever, not having officers dedicated to theGLLU full-time has led to, in our opinion,diminished effectiveness in recognizing andresponding to bias crimes. We ask that youfully restore staffing to the GLLU and grantthe officer in charge with direct reporting toChief Lanier.”The mayor’s office did not respond to arequest for comment by press time.In an interview with the Blade twoweeks ago, Fenty said he has full confi-dence in Lanier’s handling of the GLLUrestructuring, saying she has succeededin reducing overall crime rates in the cityduring her tenure as chief.“You want law enforcement puttingtogether strategy for keeping people safe,Fenty said. “You don’t want civilians andyou especially don’t want politicians to bethe ones who are developing those strate-gies. And I think Chief Lanier has done agreat job doing that.”
4 washingtonblade.com • september 3, 2010
Town woos bears with pizza, draft beer
By JOEY DiGUGLIELMOjoeyd@washblade.com
The local bear crowd that used to gather every Friday night at EFNLounge/Motley Bar has unofficially settled on Town as its new home.Though the group has no established leadership, former Motley bartenderNicholas Baatz negotiated with Town owner Ed Bailey to have the group gatherthere. Green Lantern and Cobalt also made efforts to woo the bears but Town hashad the largest turnout the last two Fridays.“Without a doubt, Town is the new space,” said Kevin Smiffy, a bear happy hourregular. “I went to all three places the first week. I know [Green Lantern owner]Greg [Zehn]. He’s a good friend so I kind of owed it to him to stop by but therewere maybe 20 people there as opposed to a couple hundred at Town. Town, byfar, was the place to be.”But doesn’t Green Lantern’s vibe suit the Bear crowd better?“You would think on paper it seems that way,” Smiffy said. “But Green Lanternisn’t really conducive to bear happy hour because it’s two levels and the upstairsreally isn’t that big. Town is one big open space with the bar against the wall. Yes,it’s more posh and not what you think a bear would be into, but who knows?”Bailey said he and Baatz discussed that concern.“I think they had some questions about whether or not we would even be inter-ested,” Bailey said. “They perceived the image of our business, I guess, and did-n’t know if we would even want their crowd there. It was a little bit of an eye open-er for us because evidently some people think of us as a twink bar, which wearen’t. I mean, yes, we have our fair share of twinks, but I wouldn’t call us thatthough some have that perception. But yes, we’re excited to have them and it’sbeen a fantastic showing so far.”Bailey says about 250 attended Aug. 20 and about 350 last week. Several pro-visions were made. Ordinarily Town doesn’t open until 10 on Friday nights butopens now at 6 on Fridays for the bears. They stay downstairs and Baatz arrangedto bring their own DJ. Bailey provides pizza — they went through 30 extra-largepizzas last week. Bailey also installed draft beer kegs which Town didn’t previous-ly have. Bud Lite and Shock Top are on tap. And rail drinks and bottled beers aresold for $2 cheaper than usual.Bailey even instructed the drag troupe, which goes on at 10, to alter its first fewnumbers to find things that would appeal to the bears so they’d stick around.“Everything’s been well worth it,” Bailey said. “It’s been delightful.”
At least one activist has called for a sit-in protest at the office of Mayor
Adrian Fenty
to call attention to the problem of hate crimes.
Activists call on Fenty to ‘restore’ police liaison unit
september 3, 2010 • washingtonblade.com 5

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